12 Steps For Effective Phone Directory Ads

One day, usually shortly after you have your phone line installed, your friendly local yellow pages account representative will come calling. If you have nothing better to do that day, take about 30 minutes to listen to his presentation – it will do your ego some good and occasionally you can collect some neat swag. But, before you sign on the dotted line and commit to that scary monthly payment, consider that effective directory ads aren’t necessarily expensive and the expensive package the account rep is pushing may not be effective for your particular situation. Here are 12 points from my crash course into the world of phone directory advertising:

  1. The general “Attorney” category is very competitive. Unless you can afford an ad that will be placed in the front third of this section, spend your money elsewhere.
  2. If you do place an ad in the front third, position does not matter, “first” ads are not called more frequently than “last” ads.
  3. Good ads will always get more calls
  4. “In column” ads are effective when placed in the “practice area” section of the directory or in the “area of town” sections
  5. When using “in column” ads, match the size of the largest competing ad
  6. “In column” ads in the attorney section are often no more effective than a standard listing.
  7. Remember, the vast majority of potential clients seldom look beyond the generic “Attorney” heading
  8. Good ads don’t have to be in full color. You can make a powerful statement in black on yellow just as easily.
  9. Spend your money on getting into that front third before you spend it on color.
  10. While phone directory advertising can lend a certain street cred. to your firm, remember that your goal is to build name recognition and if you can’t afford to place your ad in that critical front third, there are always other avenues available to you. Invest your money where it will produce the most bang for you.
  11. Good Ads should
    1. Not be text heavy. Limit text to less than 50% of the available space
    2. Use strong headlines to compel attention and engage the reader
    3. Have laser-like focus. Don’t direct your advertising to the teeming huddled masses, direct it at the specific client you want to work with. The more specific the better.
    4. Use an arresting, eye-catching illustration or photo. That’s right use one and only one. Along with your headline, this will be what your reader will see first, so together, they need to make your message.
    5. Have a professional, clutter-free layout that draws the eye through the copy to your phone number & name.
    6. Generate an emotion. People are more likely to buy for emotional reasons than they are out of pure logic.
  12. Advertise in the directory with the largest distribution. Your goal is to get into the customer’s hands so it does not matter how many directories were printed, it does matter how many of those printed directories actually made it into homes and businesses.

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